Lang and Kurrat Capture WAC Titles

<i>From the Official University of Idaho website:</i><br> <br> Junior <b>Ryan Lang</b> gave the University of Idaho Vandals their first Western Athletic Conference Championship Thursday night as he won the heptathlon at the 2005 WAC Indoor Championships. Lang recorded 5,081 points and a WAC Championship record on his way to the victory. Senior <b>Manuela Kurrat</b> completed the multi-event sweep for Idaho as she won the women's pentathlon with 3,999 points.

From the Official University of Idaho website:


NAMPA, Idaho— Junior Ryan Lang gave the University of Idaho Vandals their first Western Athletic Conference Championship Thursday night as he won the heptathlon at the 2005 WAC Indoor Championships. Lang recorded 5,081 points and a WAC Championship record on his way to the victory. Senior Manuela Kurrat completed the multi-event sweep for Idaho as she won the women's pentathlon with 3,999 points.

"For us to win the very first event is outstanding," co-head coach Wayne Phipps said. "It shows that we can compete very well and whatever conference we get put in, we are going to be competitive."

Lang entered day two of the multi-events in second place with two of his best events on schedule, the pole vault and 60m hurdles. In the 60m hurdles Lang finished second with a personal best time of 8.40. Entering the pole vault, Lang trailed leader Reece Hulbert of Utah State by 51 points. His first place finish in the vault with a personal best mark of 14-1¼ propelled him into the lead by 142 points heading into the final event, the 1,000m run.

"In most cases begin ahead by only 142 points wouldn't be a problem for Ryan at all, but he's been battling the flu," Phipps said. "We were a little uncertain of how he was going to run the 1,000 but we felt like he could stay within 14 seconds of the Utah State athlete."

Hulbert raced out to an early lead in the final event before Boise State's Sterling Small caught him at the finish line. Lang was able to stay within enough distance of Hulbert to thwart any comeback efforts as Lang grabbed the heptathlon title by 66 points.

Hulbert finished second with 5,015 points followed by Small with 4,766. Idaho's Marcus Luckstead narrowly missed a third place finish as he came in fourth with 4,744 points. Eammon Torgison finished eighth for the Vandals with 4,022 points.

"We've talked this whole year about Ryan having a very good chance to win the heptathlon so that was the goal all year," Phipps said. "He responded very well and had an outstanding day two."

One the women's side it was all Kurrat from the first event. She finished first in the 60m hurdles (8.88), shot put (43-4¼) and 800m (2:21.80). She placed second in the other two events, the long jump (18-4½) and the high jump (5-5). Kurrat recorded personal bests in the hurdles, shot put and high jump on her way to the title.

"Manuela did amazingly well tonight," co-head coach Yogi Teevens said. "Our whole goal was to get through the pentathlon and hopefully win, but as easily as possible so that she could come back over the next two days and compete in other events. That was her mindset going in but she still managed to set three lifetime pr's."

Taking home silver was Katie Christianson of Fresno State with 3,713 points while Carrie Yost of Utah State took third with 3,703 points.

"Winning both the heptathlon and pentathlon will hopefully set the tone for the rest of the meet," Teevens said. "Our kids are used to winning championships and our team is well prepared and ready to give the WAC our best shot."

The Vandals begin the main portion of the WAC Championships tomorrow, Feb. 25th at 4:30 p.m. at the Jacksons Track in the Idaho Sports Center with the women's mile prelim. The Idaho men go into the main competition with 16 team points and the women currently have 10 points.




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